Movie Rejected by UK for Explicit Sexual Violence

Image via HorrorNews.net

It’s rare for the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) to reject a film, but it did just that after reviewing The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, the sequel to last year’s The Human Centipede: First Sequence (clever titles, I know), one of the most disturbing movies to be released in the past few years. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the gratuitous gore that is the first Human Centipede movie, the plot involves a mad scientist who kidnaps three tourists and turns them into, you guessed it, a human centipede by connecting them through their gastric systems. I’ll let your imagination do the rest.

According to the official press release, the BBFC’s decision to reject the film resulted from the explicit sexual violence so prevalent throughout the movie. It says “the principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims… There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience.”

Tom Six, the film’s director, responds to the rejection in an Empire article by essentially saying that people can decide for themselves whether or not to watch the movie. Samuel Zimmerman with Fangoria, who felt the first movie “didn’t go far enough” (yikes!), said in his report that he hopes the decision is overturned and that the film is also released in the U.S.

Personally, I applaud the BBFC’s decision to reject the film, which means the film cannot legally be supplied anywhere in the UK. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for adults having the right to decide what they do and do not watch, but I am truly afraid of the people who take pleasure in the kind of sexual violence depicted in this film.

Read the BBFC’s full reason for rejecting the film below and let me know your thoughts. Was this a good decision by the BBFC or unnecessary censorship?

WARNING: The text below, which was taken from the BBFC’s official press release, contains descriptions of explicit sexual violence. Read at your own discretion.

SPOILER ALERT: The text below contains film spoilers.

“The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a sequel to the film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), which was classified ‘18’ uncut for cinema and DVD release by the BBFC in 2010. The first film dealt with a mad doctor who sews together three kidnapped people in order to produce the ‘human centipede’of the title. Although the concept of the film was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at ‘18’. This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the ‘centipede’ idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the ‘centipede’ idea as the object of the protagonist’s depraved sexual fantasy.

“The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.

“David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: ‘It is the Board’s carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA, and would be unacceptable to the public. The Board also seeks to avoid classifying material that may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA) or any other relevant legislation. The OPA prohibits the publication of works that have a tendency to deprave or corrupt a significant proportion of those likely to see them. In order to avoid classifying potentially obscene material, the Board engages in regular discussions with the relevant enforcement agencies, including the CPS, the police, and the Ministry of Justice. It is the Board’s view that there is a genuine risk that this video work,The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA, for the reasons given above.

“’The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.’”

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18 thoughts on “Movie Rejected by UK for Explicit Sexual Violence

  1. Tricia says:

    I’m not a fan of horror films because I just can’t stomach them, but to each their own. Movies are entertainment, and entertainment is subjective. I’m sure horror fans don’t enjoy my love of Rogers & Hammerstein 😉 But this just seems like too much. This sounds more like a specialized type of porno than a movie intended for horror fans. I guess if the pain inflicted was consensual, that would be one thing, but it doesn’t sound like the intent is to convey it as consensual.

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      You’re not the first to describe this second film as pornographic, and I tend to agree with that description after reading the spoilers. I’m not sure exactly how graphic the movie gets (I’m sure they have to show certain body parts/fluids for it to qualify as a true porn movie), but it seems to me this movie really crosses the line between a horror film and a gruesome porno.

  2. Tim Stotz says:

    Nothing should be censored. It’s not our right to tell others what they can watch, nor what is art. There is nothing that obviously is art, or obviously is not art. And is art a criteria to justify a piece of media’s existence? I haven’t seen that written any where. I haven’t seen the first movie. It looks exploitive, boring, and not to my tastes. I moved on. Most people who would appoint themselves as my moral guardians, I don’t want to give the job. The irony is, as their moral compass, they use an outdated, barbarous, parochial book full of death, slavery, rape, incest, and nightmarish images that they unleash on children at a young age…they chief difference is that horror films aren’t generally prescriptive. The bible, for all it’s gory, atrocities and crimes against humanity, is a manual ofhow you should live. The people who hold it in high regard –or anyone for that matter — have no place to tell me what I should watch. Human centipede is a trifle, a blip on the pop culture radar we won’t be talking about in 5 years. The bible is repugnant…but I’d never tell someone they couldn’t read it.

    I think it’s about lines in the sand. I haven’t seen the second movie. I expect I never will. So I don’t know it’s true caliber…I’m ok with that. I’m behind on watching stuff I want to watch. But, if sexual violence is a problem here, then a lot of Tarantino, 9 1/2 weeks, a lot of old westerns, and many other movies about serial killers and things of that nature is verboten. You can say, “Yeah, but this is a more extreme case.” I’d argue that at one time, many of the things we think are not only acceptable but “important” were on the verge back then. I’m not suggesting that Human Centipede II: Electric Boogaloo will be important, but again who cares about that? A movie being important shouldn’t be part of its right to exist.

    As a side note: I’m fascinated by the cultural differences. Where I don’t agree in censorship, the Brits are dialed into a different Weltanschauung about violence, sex, and what constitutes lewd. I tend to agree without the direction they go more than Americans. Sex, i think most would admit, in one form another is a good thing, if not at the very least a biological imperative. It’s depiction shouldn’t be that shrouded in shame. Violence is a bad thing. I still don’t think it should be hidden. And, the cartoon variety depicted in cinema is amazing fun. They both tap into a primal part of us animal types. But, they can drop an F bomb and show nudity on their gov’t funded network TV! But, they really have limits on the violence. Again don’t agree with the limits, but if a gun were to my head, and i had to pick one that I thought was the healthy one to show, and the harmful one that put bad ideas in the heads of the children and weak willed who couldn’t separate reality from fantasy: i’d say nix the violence.

    I’m off tow actively not watch the move Deliverance. I hear the sodomy is fantastic, but I’d rather watch the Brit-com, “Coupling.”

    • Tim Stotz says:

      Sorry, that was hastily composed and full of typos…and Dear, auto correct when I accidentally put With and The together, and you change it to without, that pretty much makes my sentence mean the opposite of what I wanted, if you make it mean anything at all. haha Also, sorry for the almost article-length rant.

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      The Bible is such a great example of how skewed our concept of violence and/or sexual violence really is. The part of your comment that rung a bell with me is that you’re right — our concept of what is extreme has changed a lot over the years. We’ve become pretty desensitized to various forms of violence, and that’s definitely not just because of horror movies. I’d say the news media is a big culprit of this moral shift. We see so much violence on the news on a daily basis, it really doesn’t effect us a whole lot anymore. And not to take this too far on a tangent, but I play the video game Left 4 Dead sometimes — who’s to say I’m not “morally depraved” for enjoying the spilt blood of former humans? How is that video game any different from this movie?

      Like you said, it really is about lines in the sand, and those lines are so incredibly subjective. For me, it’s realistic torture movies and rape scenes that make me feel completely sick to my stomach. I have a physical reaction to them and just cannot watch. Intellectually, I know what I’m watching is fake, but it’s still too much for me to handle.

      My main point is not that censorship is good (though I know I made myself sound like that) — it’s that I, personally, have a hatred for sexual violence and felt a personal victory when a movie featuring sexual violence didn’t make it to audiences. Is it unfair to the rest of the people who might have wanted to watch it? Sure. But my personal “vendetta” against movies like that had been satisfied.

      • Tim Stotz says:

        To put things in context: You’ve watched more horror movies by volume, and probably have seen more extreme scenes than I have. And you certainly have played more video games that depict violence. I’ve plaid…none. Not a gamer. My geek cred is plummeting. haha

        If your point is: “Fuck this Film maker for making sick shit like this. I think he’s a turd. I hate movies like this. He sucks.” That’s cool, and I agree with you pretty much actually. You’re entitled to you opinion (especially in an opinion blog on the internet), and you can’t help, nor should you, your emotional response to a piece of media, or anything. But what stuck in my craw is that you intellectualized your emotional reaction, or at least made it seem you were taking the moral high-road, or hiding behind philosophy to justify your opinion. That sees dishonest. To try to take the visceral out of the visceral. I’m not going to tell you how to write your article—that would be hypocritical and down right, full-on ironical considering my stance—but i don’t think you have to show your work when you’re talking about emotional reaction. Just, say what you feel, and I think it’s ok.

        I don’t mean to beat a dead horse; you already said you were being flip, but I think if you have problems with the types of things depicted in this movie, that is literally Your Problem. Please take this in the spirit intended, but if you can’t handle it, i don’t think you can be prescriptive in the behavior of other people’s destiny. Maybe they can handle it. I think a very valid psychological case could be made that someone could watch this obviously fictional account, not be phased too much, because they had their shit together. Often the consensus is that a healthy, well adjusted person can handle anything. (There are other schools of thought too of course.) I know I can’t. Last House on the Left, and I Spit on Your Grave made me squirm! So, I’m not a guy in a glass psychological house throwing stones. I agree with you on the icky-ness of the subject, just not how it translates into society. Again, not ripping on you, or calling you a whack-a-doo for feeling that rape makes you uncomfortable.

        I also understand your mixed emotions—though not specifically about this. I do feel, as a pretty liberal person, that the Klan has the right to peaceably assemble. That—hurt—to—type. I also have a tremendous problem reconciling hating people who hate, but that’s another tangent for another day. Back to the topic…

        I also think that there’s a huge chasm between Depicting and Glorifying. I remember the dumb asses protesting Pulp Fiction’s “glorification” of drug use. After what happened to Uma, I’m not going to be shooting up any time soon!

        As cynical and jaded as I can come off, I have a basic, if not close to almost exhausted, basic hope and a belief that humanity is not as shitty as we tend to think it is. Couple that with the philosophy that the best way to make your point, is to let you enemy speak. I say, Let CII go to market. And if you want a victory to revel in, how about the victory of society not buying it? About a large group of people en masse taking this exploitive, derivative looking piece of crap (I say “looking” as I haven’t seen it.) and ignoring it.

        Of course now that this sensationalism of being banned is in play, it’s like a mini PR coup for the producers.

        All I know, is you let them take Centipede II, and they may come for your Left for Dead. They want to. You know it. Those damn British. They want to invade again. I can feel it. The shifty bastards. it’s in their gin-red eyes.

        • The Slasher Chick says:

          You did pretty much beat a dead horse with this comment, so I’ll just say this: I’m not dumbing down my writing because a couple of people misinterpreted what I was saying. I don’t feel I had to “show my work.” Alex pretty hit the nail on the head with what I was trying to say, which means there are people who read the post and realized I wasn’t condoning censorship, nor was I saying all people who watch movies like HCII are sick fucks. However, I wanted to be respectful to you and Travis by engaging you in conversation about why you read my post the way you read it. As a writer, I understand that the instance in which 100% of the people who read my posts understand exactly what I am trying to say, no matter how explicit I think I’m being, will NEVER happen. This post is a great example of that. I also have the advantage of knowing you personally and understanding why you (and Travis) reacted the way you did. Since I do know you, I understand your passion for horror movies and censorship, and therefore took no issue with your comments.

  3. Travis Legge says:

    I have seen the first Human Centipede film. It had disturbing imagery and implications, but the fact of the matter is it was almost ENTIRELY devoid of gore. People talk about it like there were splattery buckets of blood and detailed depictions of people sitting down to enjoy a meal of human feces in extreme close-up shots. Every bit of disgusting-ness in Human Centipede was IMPLIED. The viewer did the work in their mind with the visual crumbs they were given by the filmmaker.

    I have not seen the sequel. Perhaps Tom Six has lost his storytelling ability entirely and elected to go full speed ahead into graphic torture porn by showing the scenes above in full glorious detail, but I strongly doubt it. I’d wager that everything the British Censorship Board describes above is implied rather than depicted.

    But beyond all of that, my dear Slasher Chick, you made a very very disturbing statement in your article here, that I’d like to address.

    “I am truly afraid of the people who take pleasure in the kind of sexual violence depicted in this film.”

    Now, this bothers me for a number of reasons. First off, you’re saying that if anyone wants to watch this film, it must be because they are twisted sadomasochists who get off on the sexual aspect of the story. That is a logical fallacy, and a dangerous one at that. People may be interested in the story, the cinematography, or maybe they just like being grossed out and are utterly neutral on the sexuality of the scenes. But in the narrow view you are portraying here someone MUST be a pervert to want to watch this film, so it is therefore okay to BAN it and make it ILLEGAL to share. You have indicated that it is okay to treat this film as if it were of the highest caliber of potentially damaging imagery to its audience, and by extension to its participants (who probably had plenty of fun, but no sexual gratification in filming those scenes). You have agreed to the decree that this film being made available is CRIMINAL! Congratulations, you have just equated a legitimate horror film with child pornography.

    Also, you have opened a question: Where’s the line?

    Hellraiser is ALL ABOUT the link between sex and violence, pleasure and pain. Does that mean it should be banned?

    How many people die mid-coitus in Friday the 13th films? Does THAT equation of sex and violence mean these films should be banned?

    In the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Freddy is a child molester who makes such wisecracks as “How’s THIS for a wet dream” and “Wanna suck face” before killing his teenage victims. Guess we should ban those too?

    This mindset is far far more dangerous than ANY of the scenes in these films. Because while these films offer a certain level of disturbing content, they are NOT aimed at thought control. Censorship is. Period.

    Thanks,
    Travis Legge

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      You bring up an excellent point, Travis: “you’re saying that if anyone wants to watch this film, it must be because they are twisted sadomasochists who get off on the sexual aspect of the story. That is a logical fallacy, and a dangerous one at that. People may be interested in the story, the cinematography, or maybe they just like being grossed out and are utterly neutral on the sexuality of the scenes.” I don’t want to repeat myself too much from what I said in reply to Tim, so forgive me if my reply ends up being too brief. You’re are completely right — I have an exceptionally difficult time seeing past the sexual violence, so I just don’t understand how others can appreciate the other aspects of the movie. Take A Clockwork Orange, for example. So many people consider this a cult classic and a fascinating depiction of classical conditioning. I, on the other hand, see a movie that consists of 2 hours of women being raped. As I watched the movie, the more the sexual violence continued, the more physically ill I felt — my heart raced, I started to sweat, and I felt sick to my stomach. Whenever I hear someone loves that movie, I grimace internally and try to remember they’re a good person despite their taste in movies. It’s a little awkward admitting to have such a strong abhorrence to a specific type of movie, but there it is.

      Now this line you mention – that’s the interesting part. I really love campy horror films, like your Nightmare on Elm Streets, Friday the 13ths, etc. I mentioned to Tim that I felt this is all incredibly subjective, and for me that line is drawn when films are far too realistic. I LOVE campy horror because they are so unrealistic that I laugh at them. I know what’s happening isn’t real on every level. Movies like the Human Centipede … well, maybe it’s the child in me having issues staying in touch with reality, but they’re just too much for me.

      Anyway, not to continue to repeat what I said to Tim, but my main point wasn’t to condone censorship. My flippant comment was really celebrating a personal victory in which a movie that I know would make me want to throw up didn’t make it past the film board. Selfish? Oh yes. I fully admit that.

      And who knows — there’s still America.

  4. Brandon says:

    Having read through the comments above me, I can understand all the different viewpoints presented. I am also against censorship and feel I alone know what is best for me. However, sometimes I think certain boundaries get crossed and this one seems to be the case. I know there have been many movies which have depicted rape scenes in the past but this one seems so depraved that it’s hard to even stomach reading the description. I for one hope this movie is also banned in the US. Now, maybe having a 3 year old daughter clouds my thinking on this in some way but I probably would have felt the same before she came along considering the nature of the movie.

    I’ll be honest here and it may ruffle some feathers but I would worry about anyone that actually “enjoyed” this type of movie. I know we all have different tastes and likes but to actually enjoy this type of imagery is beyond disturbing to me. If my hypothetical 18 year old son/daughter watched and liked this movie, it would cause me great consternation. Just being honest here.

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      That seems to be where Travis and I are at odds, Brandon. I think it’d be interesting to do some research on violence and sexual violence in movies — and not just horror movies. I’m interested to know what makes the sexual violence in HCII so abhorrent to some people and not to others, but I’d also like to learn more about this as in pertains to other types of movies as well. It’s interesting to me how those lines get drawn, and what those lines mean psychologically.

  5. Alex Ianno says:

    Travis,

    If you look at what Slasher Chick is saying, she is not saying “ANYONE who enjoys the Human Centipede movies is devoid of moral values or sadomasochists.” I have NO idea how you came up with that interpretation. It seems as though you read her comment that “frightened you” which was “! am truly afraid of the people who take pleasure in the kind of sexual violence depicted in this film” and skewed it tremendously. She is not addressing the movie as a whole, but how the movie deals with sexual violence. If you read the synopsis of the movie, you learn the “scientist” wraps barb wire around his penis and rapes the “end” of the centipede. Slasher Chick (I believe) is saying she is frightened by the people who enjoy this scene as either art or entertainment. She is not slamming the movie as a whole, but rather saying she does not trust people who find pleasure in grotesque acts (and themes) such as these within the movie.

    I completely agree with this, as well. Without starting a whole new strand here, I believe censorship IS important. You know, not everyone is as educated, morally motivated, and aware as the readers of this blog and I cannot imagine the types of people that would negatively benefit from a world devoid of censorship. I teach plenty of children that lack parental involvement or care and just imagining a world where they could get their hands on ANYTHING is a frightening thought. Yes, censorship is a fine line, as are most things in this world, and of course, there have been things that have been censored for silly reasons (e.g. Mark Twain’s use of dialect), yet ultimately, human beings are influenced by what they hear, see and experience, and a world that allows EVERYTHING means that desensitization to sex, violence, love, and language is inevitable. We are already an apathetic nation, why contribute even more? There HAS to be a standard of behavior, a standard for entertainment, and a standard of language in my opinion. Though you may disagree, as many (and possibly most will?), I am looking out for my students and my future children.

    Bottom line: In my opinion, censorship exists ultimately for the good of others. If you look at who makes up the panels, most are parents who are trying to protect (NOT SHELTER) their children. I agree with this notion. Parents should be up front and frank with their children, but not throw them into a R rated movie to teach them about violence. :/ Unnecessary and could lead to nightmares and trauma. (Remember, again, not everyone is as consciously aware/morally guided/parentally supported as a chunk of the US is, thus censorship does act as virtual stop sign for those people.)

    As you say, maybe censorship is “thought control”, but what you think about more often than not leaks out into your actions, and censorship is working against the negative thought/action.

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      You’re correct, Alex. I have always been perplexed at the thought of taking pleasure in watching the raping and/or torture of others. Perhaps because some are able to remove emotion from the equation and see if for purely fiction … but then isn’t the whole point of movie-going to suspend one’s disbelief and let imagination take over?

      All of these comments have mentioned that line in the sand, and it’s difficult not to reiterate that point over and over again because I think that’s really what it’s all about. Where do we draw those lines? And how do we draw those lines?

      We walk a razor thin line when we talk about censorship.

    • Travis Legge says:

      Alex,

      Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been a busy bee.

      In response to your entire first paragraph, I guess I kind of see what you are saying, but consider this: they are not banning the graphic scenes of the film, the ones Slasher Chick is scared of me because I might enjoy, they are banning the film. Your point, while understood, is kinda moot.

      Here’s the thing about censorship: unless you are ACTUALLY harming someone with your art (i.e. child pornography, cataloguing an ACTUAL rape or assault) you, as an artist, should be free to express yourself. Should there be warnings? ABSOLUTELY, so that intelligent people (and parents) can make decisions about what they (and their children) consume.

      As a father of three i take grave insult at the idea that the government must decide what I can and cannot show my children because I am somehow incapable. Would I show my kids Human Centipede? Hell no, but I damn sure want the right to make that choice for myself.

      Also, you are advocating the BANNING of a film, based on a description from a censor. A dubious source at best. for all you or I know, every scene described could well be implied as opposed to shown. Would that make a difference to you? If not, what would?

      At what point do you think the sweaty, ignorant masses are incapable of making their own choices? That is really the question behind censorship, IMHO.

  6. Tim Stotz says:

    Look out, Brandon and Alex! Next thing you know your kids will be listening to the Jazz and kicking up a right fuss. They may further be iconoclastic in that they abandon logical fallacies like: Sig hoc ergo post hoc, Non sequitur, Straw Man, Begging the question, and our good buddy correlation not causation. Why, they may also shrug off the whole outdated and vulgar “White Man’s Burden / Let’s think for the inferior people not as good as us” thing!

    Generally the marginalized and condemned ranks of the horror community are not just open minded, but realize that looking around at their peers that they are at least as not screwed up as anyone else, and in fact a great deal more even keeled–in my observation–than about any other group of people. Not being repressed and having an ability to separate fact and fantasies are wonderful things.

    If every site out there tries to find a unique voice, this one certainly has one emerging. What other horror site is pro censorship?

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      I think at this point, Tim, you’re starting to take all of this personally. This post happens to be about a horror movie, but the issue is not isolated to the horror community, and I definitely never attacked the horror community in any way in this post. In fact, I have a post in the hopper exploring the sexual violence that’s rampant in a Korean movie called “I Saw the Devil,” which is not a horror movie (despite the title). A friend of mine recommended it to my boyfriend, so I plan to link to his review of the movie to show two views of what I found to be a movie so full of gratuitous violence that I’d never recommend it to anyone.

      It’s clear you haven’t read any of my other posts, otherwise you’d realize this isn’t a “horror blog” (I did point this out to you on facebook as well). The horror theme in the name and artwork stem from my love of horror movies and my view that life is full of horrors, and I plan to write about as many of them as possible. Other posts explore some really weird online dating sites I’ve stumbled across, books reviews, coverage of the Slut Walks that took place recently, and even a post about the local civil unions after they became legal in Illinois.

      Bottom line: We both love and respect horror, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree on what makes a good horror movie. Your second paragraph made me feel as though you feel like you’re a part of some elite horror community that’s just completely misunderstood, and maybe that stems from some negative experiences you’ve had as you’ve made your way up the ranks as a horror movie writer/director/producer. As a horror movie lover, I don’t view myself or other horror movie lovers as any more “screwed up” than anyone else. However, I do have the right to say I’m glad a movie that consists of a man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping someone was banned. Free speech. Personal blog.

  7. Michael says:

    Interesting discussion. Censorship is often difficult to discuss because the issues of a) jurisdiction of the censoring body and b) the merit of the questioned publication are usually mixed together. Add in a little c) for auto-objecting to the influence of religious books for good measure.

    In defense of any censorship at all, I know that women often confess that they felt sexually violated and betrayed when certain movie scenes were watched without comment from parents in their homes growing up. (Women mentioned because most sexual violence in movies and real life are against women.) This same feeling is also present in rape and abuse victims much more acutely, so I submit that exposing vulnerable people to films like this could be considered a lesser, negligent form of certain violent crimes we reward with jail sentences. Since the media distribution business has no “enough” switch it cannot be relied on to stop pushing before too many vulnerable people have seen sexually violent material, ergo something outside the film industry may need to be the one to say enough.

    As to jurisdiction, I do not think that a national or international film board should censor any movie (or exist) and I encourage families to thoughtfully decide what they will and won’t watch, preferably defaulting to no because saying no to second-rate ways to use time is a lost art. Between these two political units are several shades of grey. All that said, I practice a studied neutrality regarding what neighborhoods, cities, states, churches, etc. do that does not affect me directly, so this is all only a thought exercise about what would be right to do in Washington D.C., Springfield, Rockford or my own home.

    • Travis Legge says:

      Michael,

      In the scenario you described, you are asking the government or other censoring body to play parent to a girl who MIGHT be upset by the depiction of sexual violence, because her parents are clearly too stupid to parent her properly. You are falling into the trap of blaming the media for lousy parenting. Artists should not be punished because people suck at parenting.

      Content control is a personal responsibility for adults and a parental responsibility for children. The artist’s sole responsibility is to give the audience fair warning of content contained within.

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